Merseyside Derby – What This Weekend's Clash Means for Both Teams

Hugo Watson

Merseyside Derby – What it Means for Both Teams

This weekend Liverpool welcomes their local rivals in Everton to Anfield for a derby on Sunday afternoon.

The last time these two sides met was back on 1st December, when Everton suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat to their near rivals, as Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah (2) and Sadio Mane all got on the scoresheet, to heap further pressure onto then Toffees manager Rafael Benitez.

Here we take a look at what this derby means for both of these sides on the basis of this season.

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Liverpool’s Push for the Premier League Title

The Reds are on electric form after cruising past a lacklustre Manchester United side in a 4-0 victory at Anfield on Tuesday evening, and the Champions League semi-finalists are unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and haven’t lost since the 28th of December in the Premier League.

The last game against Manchester United featured a goal and an assist from every attacker in the Liverpool starting line-up as well as an assist from the substitute from Diogo Jota and a second for Salah to break his prolonged wait for an open play goal.

The game also featured spectacular performances from the likes of Thiago with the Spaniard having a 96% pass completion rate, 100% of long balls completed and 8/9 ground duels won which resulted in the midfielder being the man of the match.

Liverpool’s main threat however is Mane, with the Senegalese forward playing a more central role as of late, he has become more proficient in front of goal with three goals in his last two matches with two of them coming in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City the previous weekend. Although, the position shift has also allowed Mane to be more involved in setting up his teammates now with a sublime reverse pass to Salah on Tuesday being a prime example of that.

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The Challenge Everton Faces

Everton however may be the polar opposite to their city counterparts with two wins in their last 8 Premier League games against Manchester United and Newcastle United respectively as well as both of those results coming at Goodison Park, a tie away at Anfield may not be what Frank Lampard’s side need to sustain their fight to remain in the top division.

Despite this, however, Everton are coming off of a result against Manchester United and drew 1-1 with Leicester City on Wednesday, only managing to rescue a point via a last kick goal by Richarlison. To further add to the meaning of this fixture, Liverpool are still challenging for every possible trophy this season, including a very close title race with Manchester City and the chance to take that away from the Reds could inspire the Everton players to give it their all on Sunday.

Everton’s main threat at this moment in time would have to be Anthony Gordon who scored in their victory over Manchester United and is a local boy who understands what it means to play for Everton Football Club, the attacking midfielder also offers creativity in the attack as well as having the ability to nick a goal to give his team extra points.

Although this is nicknamed the ‘Friendly Derby’, Everton famously mocked Liverpool for failing to win the league in 2019, having been the last side to take a point off them in that campaign following their 0-0 stalemate at Goodison Park.

It is easy to forget that Everton actually won 2-0 at Anfield last campaign, ending a 22-year wait. The Toffees' away form this season has been abysmal, winning just one of 15 games in the Premier League, leaking 33 goals and scoring just 13.

If Goodison Park club are to have aspirations of competing to a high level in the future, then they as a club must stay up and spend their money in an adequate fashion, having signed lacklustre performers on high wages, meaning that their re-sale is virtually inexistent, hence why last summer, their signings tallied up to £1.8m.

Something that has also exacerbated Everton’s position was their turbulent spell under Rafael Benitez, where they sold arguably their two best players in Lucas Digne and James Rodriguez before sacking the Spaniard just after the former had been allowed to leave to Aston Villa.

This match ultimately sees two of the biggest clubs in England go head to head, even if the blue half of Liverpool hasn’t won a trophy since 1995, it also represents a chance for Jurgen Klopp’s men to enhance their title challenge, whilst for Everton it will be an acid test, to see if their players can muster up character and show the fight that is needed to keep them in the top-flight.


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